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About ComSoc

Published: 14 Nov 2014

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After a six-year campaign, the new accreditation criteria for ?Electrical, Computer, Communications, Telecommunication(s) and Similarly Named Engineering Programs? have received final approval from ABET (the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).

The achievement signals a significant success of IEEE ComSoc's Telecommunications Engineering Education (TEE) movement, which has been led by BoG member Tarek S. El-Bawab for several years.

The Journey

The new criteria were originally passed as a proposed change by ABET?s Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) in July 2013, and by ABET's Board in October 2013. After going through public comments period through June 15, 2014, followed by the approval from the EAC in July 2014, the new accreditation criteria were finally approved on November 1, 2014 by the ABET Board of Directors, and have become official and effective. They will be the basis for ABET accreditation visits as of Fall 2015. Although Telecommunication Engineering is recognized in some countries as a distinct spin off the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) discipline(s), it has not been fully recognized as such in the US, and in most other countries. Since late 1970?s, the IEEE (as an ABET Member Society) had separate guidelines to accredit Electrical Engineering (EE) and Computer Engineering (CpE) Programs. The concept of program criteria was adopted by ABET in the early 1980's. As a result, IEEE developed separate program criteria for EE and CpE. In the 1994-95 timeframe, the two criteria were merged into the combined ECE criteria. The new criteria introduce specialized provisions for Communication/Telecommunication Engineering, thereby changing the reference in its title from Electrical and Computer to Electrical, Computer, Communications, and Telecommunication(s). This is the largest and most important change in these criteria in at least 35 years (when CpE guidelines were introduced).

The Breakthrough

The new criteria define what formal academic Telecommunication Engineering programs should be about. Now, it will be possible for such programs to be designed and accredited based on criteria provisions of their own,? says Tarek El-Bawab. ?Specialized undergraduate Telecom engineering education will fulfill our desperate need for more 21-century-type Telecom engineers; and can help prepare new generation of Telecom researchers to take on so many new challenges. Since the 1990s, the definition of Telecom engineering has been undergoing profound changes. Progress in the field has positioned network science and engineering at the center of modern Telecom; and transformed it from a disciplinary spin off electrical engineering to a new multidisciplinary field of its own right. Today, the list of industries and applications benefiting from this field seems virtually unlimited.

The Milestone

IEEE ComSoc BoG and leadership cheer for this historic education/accreditation milestone as an accomplishment for our society and profession. ?On behalf of ComSoc, I thank Tarek, and all those involved in the process, for this outstanding and most important achievement,? said Sergio Benedetto, the President of the IEEE Communication Society.

Michele Zorzi, the ComSoc Director of Education and Training, described the final result of this 6-year campaign as exceptional and as great service to our society and to the community at large. Thanking the TEE movement leader for his stewardship for years. Susan Brooks, the ComSoc's Executive Director, said: I can very much appreciate what it took to get to this point of major recognition!

For more information about ComSoc?s Telecommunication Engineering Education (TEE) Movement, contact Dr. Tarek S. El-Bawab: